Trinity College School

Head Lines

Thursday, November 08, 2018

This past weekend at the School, we hosted a strategic planning workshop in the Cirne Commons. Led by TCS governor, past parent and associate dean of MBA and master’s programs at the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University, Dr. Elspeth Murray P’08 ’10, 50 representatives from the broad TCS community offered their thoughts on the future of our beloved school. Parents, alumni, faculty, staff, board and foundation members, trustees and our head girl actively participated in identifying the strengths, opportunities and challenges facing independent schools in general, and specifically, TCS.

This workshop was one of many efforts – which have also included employee listening sessions, a survey to more than 7,500 community members, work groups and one-on-one conversations – initiated by the School and board, to solicit input on the near and distant future of Trinity College School.  

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Thursday, November 01, 2018

On Monday, October 15th, I had the pleasure of attending a presentation at the Canadian Accredited Independent Schools (CAIS) Heads and Chairs Conference in Calgary, Alberta, led by Mr. Robert Evans, entitled “Why a school doesn’t run or change like a business.” The next day, at Trinity College School in Port Hope, Dr. Elspeth Murray – former TCS parent, current governor and strategic planning expert – held listening sessions for our faculty and staff to collectively explore the challenges and opportunities facing TCS for the next five to 10 years, as part of the School’s strategic planning process now underway.

These two events provide the inspiration for the content in this blog post. I strongly believe that prior to starting to plan for the future of our students, and for the School as a whole, it is important that we all understand the differences between a business and a school.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2018

On my most recent alumni visit to New York City, I had the pleasure of attending and presenting at our annual New York Branch Reception held at the Harvard Club. It was a great evening where I had the chance to visit with alumni representing a wide range of graduating classes including the class of 2016 and the class of 1956.

I also thoroughly enjoyed squeezing in an off-Broadway theatrical production with a few alumni who are currently attending universities in New York and are interested in pursuing acting and other arts as their careers. What fun! It was truly a treat, and served to re-emphasize the value of the arts within the human experience.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The legalization of marijuana in Canada has not gone unnoticed in school communities. This change in Canadian law does not change Trinity College School’s rules and position with respect to the drug. To be absolutely clear, the School does not support, condone or allow for exceptions with respect to the use of marijuana, or alcohol, for young people. Period.

First and foremost, we are legally bound to uphold the province’s “age of majority,” which is, for both aforementioned products, 19 years of age. The vast majority of our students are below the age of 19. In the rare situation of a student that is of age, the School is very clear that possession and usage, including paraphernalia associated with the drug, are still not permitted at TCS – and there are no exceptions. Also, it is important to note, that the law also states that pot is not allowed on educational premises.

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Thursday, October 11, 2018

As part of an extended travel schedule, this week I spent two days in, among other Nova Scotia towns, Inverness, Antigonish and Halifax. I have been visiting TCS current and past parents, alumni, and my daughter.

In the last decade or so, TCS has had a significant number of our graduates select east coast universities. In fact, roughly 10% of our students venture east each year.

There are a host of reasons for this, including: strengthened reputations of the institutions; academic support offerings for students with learning differences; competitive and intramural sports teams; excellent programming and curricular offerings; and smaller class sizes, which means increased access to professors and closer relationships with classmates.

But there is also something very tangible and appealing within the towns that play host to these universities: Maritime friendliness!

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Thursday, October 04, 2018

In the last couple of weeks at TCS, the word “courage” has been referenced many times. Courage was written on the back of this year’s Terry Fox T-shirts which were worn by members of our school community running in support of a cure for cancer; it was mentioned by our guest speaker, Juno-nominated musician Peter Katz, as he spoke to students at the recent Scholars’ Evening; and it was referenced in chapel when our chaplain, Major The Revd. Canon Don Aitchison, spoke about TCS alumni who fought and lost their lives in service 100 years ago during the Great War.

When we think of, or try to describe, courage, we often think of examples of significant personal risk, heroism, daring, valour and fearlessness.Certainly some of the examples mentioned above exemplify this kind of courage at a very high level. Serving your county on the battlefield or running across Canada to rally support for the fight against cancer are easily seen as courageous acts.

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Thursday, September 27, 2018

The “Frosh 15” is a colloquial term that is sometimes used to describe a 15% decrease in a first-year university student’s overall average. For the majority of students, having their overall academic standing drop once they leave high school is very common. At first blush, this should not really be surprising. Being a big fish (with big marks) in a small pond (such as high school) is one thing. But when you have a lot of big fish in the same pond (university), then your “uniqueness” is not as distinguishing. This can be difficult for young people to adjust to, particularly without their friends and family nearby as supports.

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Thursday, September 20, 2018

There was an instantaneous appeal, to many parents at least, when hearing of France’s recent ban on smartphones in schools. The decree, by President Emmanuel Macron, which also included the banning of tablets and computers, appeared so simple to issue, easy to implement and popular, regardless of political bent. After all, the vast majority of data on the impact of cellphone use on adolescents is overwhelmingly negative. In short, the research indicates, more screen time for kids means less long-term happiness. So, take the phones out of kids’ hands and their futures will be brighter. Voila!

Like most other parents around the world, I would posit that the majority of TCS parents would support, in principle, the edict by France’s president. So why has TCS not banned cellphones?

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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Often I am asked by new families for my thoughts, advice or words of wisdom, as their child begins their journey at Trinity College School. I usually begin by pausing to offer congratulations to the student, and his or her family, for I know what they will soon come to know, which is that they are entering a wonderful and warm learning community here at TCS. 

I then often applaud the student for having the courage to attend a new school. We recognize that many have travelled great distances, taken long flights or bus rides, left behind many friends and family and the comforts of home to be here. I then note that they are all now part of a very active, engaging and challenging school community. I bring attention to the reality that their time at TCS likely won't always be easy or fun, but note that this is precisely the point. To the student I say, "you have elected to take a risk, accept a challenge, with the goal of designing a new and better you."

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Wednesday, September 05, 2018

I cannot remember my first day of high school. But I do remember my first day in my new school in Grade 2. We moved from Montreal to Ottawa; I joined Bayview Public School part-way through the year. I was terrified. I even asked my parents to pick me up at lunch to take me home for an afternoon nap (not due to fatigue, but to provide an escape in case things didn’t go very well!). Three years later, in Grade 5, after three days of opening week classes (one of which I spent in the hallway!), I was once again told I was changing schools. I was terrified then too.

This week, I start my 15th year at TCS. It’s great to be in the same school, in the same and best job in the world. And, it’s reassuring that my parents can’t pull me out of school anymore!

I am truly grateful to be a part of this very special learning community.

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